May 26, 2022

Digital Collections: A Brief Introduction to the Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives


Since 2008, the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has used CONTENTdm to share and manage its rich digital collections. The Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives houses printed programs, press clippings, posters, photographs, administrative files, and an extensive collection of audio and visual materials such as recordings of rehearsals and concerts, radio broadcast tapes of concerts, television programs featuring BSO or Pops performances, and commercially released recordings.


The Tanglewood Music Center Audio Collection is the BSO’s most recent digital collection project, a streaming audio collection in CONTENTdm. This project was funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Grammy Foundation. It involves the preservation reformatting of audio files, creation of streaming MP3s, creation of metadata, and linking the streaming audio files to HENRY (the BSO’s performance history search engine). The audio can be accessed either via HENRY or via


The BSO Photos collection is very popular with the BSO’s users, and it showcases photos of conductors, musicians, and guest soloists. These photos date to 1881 when the BSO was founded. The Program collection is also quite popular, and it is linked to HENRY. This collection contains concert programs relating to BSO performances at Symphony Hall from 1881–2011, BSO trip performances from 1889–1975, and BSO Tanglewood performances from 1946–2010. To learn about performances and view the program notes, users can search for materials in HENRY and then access them in CONTENTdm. Programs can also be downloaded and shared.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.